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Blog Post|8 minutes

Betting on complexity and change: Q&A with Paddy Power Betfair’s Teodor Olteanu

March 8, 2021

Over the past year, the pandemic has created a number of new IT challenges, spurred on by the sudden shift to remote work.

On the bright side: in the wake of these developments, companies across the globe have taken huge leaps in terms of their IT strategies.

One such company is Paddy Power Betfair. When the Irish betting company Paddy Power merged with Betfair in 2016, they created one of the most powerful and unique brands in the world of online gambling.

The Paddy Power brand is known for its distinct, clever personality and stellar engagement with its audience. But considering their growing staff, diverse customer base, and the impressive variety of services they offer, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of IT work that goes on behind the scenes to make it all possible.

We recently spoke with Teodor Olteanu, IT Manager at Paddy Power Betfair. Teodor is responsible for driving IT strategy to support thousands of employees across several countries, and has gained tremendous insights into the ways organizations can leverage data to smoothly navigate periods of intense change and complexity.

Read some of our conversation with Teodor below and be sure to check out our upcoming webinar with Paddy Power Betfair on March 17!

How has the pandemic impacted the way you support your employees?

Teodor Olteanu: Like so many companies, we had to adapt to supporting a hybrid digital workforce almost overnight. To do this effectively, we needed to know what our employees were really experiencing, wherever they were.

In this context, Nexthink’s traffic reporting feature – for example – has been a lifesaver for us. When we switched to working from home in the last year, we encountered some issues with our VPN and the way we were pushing Microsoft patches. Whenever Microsoft would release their monthly product security patches, our VPN started to perform poorly because it was being clogged by traffic from our internal servers to people at home. Initially, we didn’t know what was happening. But we had a look in Nexthink and then could see that the traffic was coming from our system servers. We stopped that right away and changed the way we deploy patches — and again, with Nexthink we were able to track that and see that it’s going directly from the user’s machine to the web server, so it’s not impacting our VPN line anymore.

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Also, with everyone working from home, security was really important for us. There’s a Nexthink remote action that you can use to get the encryption information from endpoints, and that has been really useful for our tech support to be able to quickly check that a machine is properly encrypted and protected.

Our workplace technology team actually received praise at the executive level when we switched to working from home, because we were able to support our user base really quickly and get them set up to work from home. Not everyone had a laptop in the company, especially our customer support users or our risks-and-trading users: they were mainly using desktops. Despite these complications, we were able to deliver, because internally we’ve been a department that has really been focused on customer experience — our customers being internal; the Paddy Power Betfair employees.

How does Nexthink link to Paddy Power’s wider technology strategy? Why, now, is the experience of your users so significant to the wider success of the business?

We’ve been using Nexthink at Betfair since back in 2015. And when Betfair was going to merge with Paddy Power, we knew Nexthink would be ideal for helping us navigate the increased levels of change and complexity, because it was such a powerful tool.

More recently, we wanted to begin the journey from reactive to a more proactive IT support team. We’ve already started to configure a couple of new technologies; for example, we have some chat bots that we’re using now for our users to be able to perform some basic account maintenance tasks, which is key to being able to provide a scalable level of support across a dispersed workforce.

Another plan is to make some of Nexthink’s dashboards visible to our users – to start to reimagine the traditional dynamic with our employees, and show them how to better understand and enhance their own level of digital experience.

We want to be more transparent in terms of showing what software is running on their work machines and what might be impacting performance. Quite often employees might turn around and say, “My machine is slow and it’s because you’ve installed this and that.” They can be very protective around what’s happening on their personal environment. With Nexthink, we can rule out a lot of false assumptions and show our users exactly what’s happening on their machines.

How are those considerations and priorities driving your plan to transition to the cloud? What is on the other side of that transition that’s so appealing?

First of all, the public cloud is one of our infrastructure strategies. We want to limit our on-premises footprint: we have a couple of data centers that we maintain, and we want to lower that.

Another benefit is around all the new features that Nexthink has in their cloud product — mainly, the analysis we get out of our environment. Nexthink Analyze is going to help us a lot, because what we struggle with now is getting the right focus and resources internally to go through the impressive amount of data that Nexthink gathers. And with Experience Optimization we will have even more insight into how to react to and remediate the issues Nexthink helps us to discern.

Want to learn more behind the IT strategy at Paddy Power Betfair?

You’re in luck! Teodor Olteanu will join Nexthink for a webinar, The Race for Digital Transformation, on March 17.

Join us on St. Patrick’s Day as Teodor and Jon Cairns, VP of Technical Services at Nexthink, will break down the transformational benefits of employee-centric IT, and much more!